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Agenda item

68 Burns Road - Installation of Replacement Windows to Front and Rear - 181046


The Local Review Body then considered the second request for a review to evaluate the decision taken by an appointed officer under the Council’s Scheme of Delegation to refuse the application for the installation of replacement windows to the front and rear of the property at 68 Burns Road, Aberdeen, Planning Reference 181046DPP.


The Chairperson advised that the LRB would again be addressed by Mr Gavin Evans and reminded members that although Mr Evans was employed by the planning authority he had not been involved in any way with the consideration or determination of the application under review and was present to provide factual information and guidance to the Body only.  She emphasised that the officer would not be asked to express any view on the proposed application.


In relation to the application, the LRB had before it (1) a delegated report by Roy Brown, Planning Technician; (2) the planning application dated 25 June 2018; (3) the decision notice dated 31 August 2018; (4) links to the planning policies and plans referred to in the delegated report; and (5) the Notice of Review submitted by the applicant’s agent.


Mr Evans described the site, advising that it was an early twentieth century mid-terraced two storey granite dwelling in a residential area, and its associated front and rear curtilage. The dwelling has a southwest facing principal elevation fronting Burns Road and the northeast (rear) boundary of the site bounds Forbesfield Lane. The dwelling had a three-bay window at ground floor level which has one-over-one timber framed sash and case windows which had modern framed secondary glazing fixed to the outer frames of these windows. There was no glazing in the lower sash of the central window of the bay and it was currently boarded up.


In terms of the proposal, Mr Evans indicated that there was three sash and case windows in the front bay with uPVC sash and case replicas and at the time of the case officer’s visit, the lower pane in the central part of the bay was boarded up. The proposal sought the replacement of existing uPVC window in rear extension with a uPVC window of different colour and fenestration pattern and the replacement of a traditional rooflight in rear slope of roof with a conservation-style rooflight with central glazing bar.


Mr Evans referred to the appointed officer’s reasons for refusal which outlined the following factors:-

          That no justification had been provided to demonstrate that the timber sash and case windows on the front elevation had deteriorated beyond practicable economic repair;

          That the proposed modern uPVC windows on the front elevation would adversely affect the historic architectural integrity of the building and the character and appearance of the wider Great Western Road Conservation Area;

          That it could set an unwelcome precedent for similar development, resulting in cumulative erosion of the character of the Conservation Area;

          For the above reasons, the proposal was concluded to conflict with the principles of Scottish Planning Policy, Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement, policies H1 – Residential Areas, D4 – Historic Environment, and D1 – Quality Placemaking by Design of the Aberdeen Local Development Plan, as well as the associated Supplementary Guidance ‘the repair and replacement of windows and doors’;

          The proposal was also considered to undermine the aims of the Great Western Road Conservation Area Character Appraisal and Historic Environment Scotland’s Managing Change guidance relating to the replacement of windows; and

          No other material considerations that were sufficient to outweigh the development plan.


In relation to the appellant’s case, the submission contended as follows:-

          The existing frames were beyond economical repair;

(Mr Evans advised that no supporting window condition survey had been submitted);

          Highlighted that the existing lower middle pane in front bay is completely shattered and could have caused injury. Currently boarded up, this presents a security concern;

          Highlighted that other properties in the street have been replaced with uPVC as proposed; and

(Mr Evans referred to point 3 in the Householder Supplementary Guidance ‘General Principles’ advising that developments approved prior to introduction of this Supplementary Guidance did not represent any ‘precedent’ for proposals that did not comply with criteria set out; and

          Sought clarification of the officer’s decision and confirmation that a site visit was undertaken.


Mr Evans intimated that no consultations had been issued and no objections had been received in relation to the proposal.


Mr Evans advised that the applicant had expressed the view that further procedure was not required, and therefore the review may proceed without further procedure, however it was noted that in the submission the applicant also suggested that a site visit may be appropriate.


The Chairperson and Councillors Macdonald and Nicoll all indicated in turn that they each had enough information before them and therefore agreed that a site visit was not required and that the review under consideration should be determined without further procedure.


Mr Evans highlighted the relevant policy considerations, as follows:-

Aberdeen Local Development Plan 2017

          H1 – Residential Areas: Householder Development should particularly:-

-           Did not constitute overdevelopment;

-           Did not result in an unacceptable impact on the character and amenity of the surrounding area;

-           Complied with Supplementary Guidance (Householder)

          D1 – Quality Placemaking by Design: Required development to be of a high standard of design, which demonstrated an understanding of its context;

          D4 – Historic Environment: Aberdeen City Council will protect, preserve and enhance the historic environment in line with Scottish Planning Policy, Scottish Historic Environment Policy and its own Supplementary Guidance and Conservation Area Character Appraisals and Management Plan.


Supplementary Guidance

1.         Windows and Doors:-

        3.1 and 4.1, Set out that the first principle is one of retaining and repairing original/historic windows, and this would always be promoted over replacement;

        3.2 and 4.4, Replacing historic windows will only be supported where it could be demonstrated to Aberdeen City Council that they have deteriorated beyond practicable/economic repair;

        4.6, stated that (if/once replacement has been accepted) replacement windows should replicate original materials, proportions, profiles, dimensions and method of opening;

        Stated that, on public elevations in CAs, introduction of new uPVC as a replacement material was not acceptable; and

        Highlighted that on rear/non-public elevations in CAs, Aberdeen City Council may accept different materials and/or method of opening if historic dimensions/proportions are maintained.


2.         Householder:-

General principles:

        Proposals should be ‘architecturally comparable in design and scale with the original house and surrounding area’; and

        Earlier developments approved before this guidance was introduced would not be accepted as justification in support of proposals that otherwise fail to comply with these criteria. This was approved by Council in March 2017, and adopted with full Supplementary Guidance status in May 2017.


Mr Evans advised that in determining the appeal, members should also take into consideration any material considerations they feel were relevant to the application that would point to either overturning the original decision or dismissing the review.


He indicated that in addition to the relevant policies from the development plan, the following would be material considerations:-

           Scottish Planning Policy (re Conservation Areas);

           Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement;

           Aberdeen City Council’s Great Western Road Conservation Area Character Appraisal and the overarching Management Plan for Aberdeen’s Conservation Areas; and

           Historic Environment Scotland’s Managing Change guidance on ‘Windows’


Scottish Planning Policy – sets out that proposals should preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the Conservation Area.


Aberdeen City Council’s Great Western Road Conservation Area Character Appraisal:-

        Identifies ‘character areas’ within the Conservation Area. The site was within Area A: Holburn Street to Anderson Drive;

        P10:  Burns Road was largely made up of two storey semi-detached and terraced properties. This was also of a similar style, scale and design to those on Gray Street;

        P11: Noted that the character area included a large number of properties with uPVC windows, with varying colour and quality. Nevertheless, there was still some fine examples of retained original sash and case windows;

        P15: Regrettably noted that there were a number of negative factors in the character area, mainly resulting from poor maintenance and use of inappropriate materials, and including the number of uPVC windows of poor quality and design; and

        SWOT analysis of the Character Appraisal at P43 identified uPVC windows as a ‘weakness’’.


HES Managing Change publication relating to Windows set out detailed guidance, but with the following key points:-

-        Maintenance and repair was the preferred means of safeguarding the character of a historic window;

-        Where a window was beyond repair, its replacement should be permitted, but should closely match original window design, detail and materials;

-        Size, shape, design and proportions, reflective sparkle, pattern of design, materials, details of construction, method of opening, finish etc typically contribute to the character of a historic window;

-        In replacing sash windows, materials other than timber (e.g. uPVC) would rarely be acceptable;


Mr Evans intimated that the appointed officer had come to the conclusion that the proposal, though located on a secondary (rear) elevation, was unable to satisfy the other three tests.


Mr Evans advised that should members wish to overturn the decision of the appointed officer, consideration should be given to any conditions which would be appropriate in order to make the proposal acceptable. However, all conditions must meet the six tests set out by Scottish Government policy.


Members agreed unanimously to uphold the decision of the appointed officer to refuse the application.


In coming to their decision, the Local Review Body had regard to the provisions of the Development Plan as required by Sections 25 and 37(2) of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (as amended) which required that where, in making any determination under the planning acts, regard was to be had to the provisions of the development plan and that determination should be made in accordance with the plan, so far as material to the application, unless material considerations indicated otherwise. 


More specifically, the reasons in which the Local Review Body based this decision were as follows:-

            No justification had been submitted to demonstrate that the timber framed sash and case windows in the bay window of the principal elevation have deteriorated beyond practicable/economic repair. The proposed modern uPVC sash and case windows on the prominent principal elevation would adversely affect the historic architectural integrity of the original building and the historic character and appearance of the surrounding Great Western Road Conservation Area and could set a precedent for similar development in the surrounding area which could cumulatively have a negative impact on the character of the surrounding area.  The proposed windows would therefore conflict with the principles of Scottish Planning Policy; Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement; as well as Policies H1 - Residential Areas, D4 - Historic Environment and D1 - Quality Placemaking by Design of the Aberdeen Local Development Plan; the Supplementary Guidance: 'The Repair and Replacement of Windows and Doors'; the aims of the Great Western Road Conservation Area Character Appraisal; and Managing Change in the Historic Environment: Windows'. There are no material planning considerations that warrant approval of planning permission in this instance.

-           COUNCILLOR MARIE BOULTON, Chairperson